The Board of County Commissioners adopted an emergency declaration today allowing greater flexibility and support for the multi-agency response to the snow, wind and ice storms over the last several days and the coming freezing rain.
The declaration specifically authorizes the county organization to:
- Potentially seek state and federal assistance and reimbursement for local funds spent on storm response;
- Use streamlined processes for purchasing goods and services as allowed under Oregon law during emergency situations; and
- Follow emergency plans and procedures as may be needed to respond to and recover from recent winter storms within the scope of state law and the county’s Charter and code.
The declaration will expire in one week, on January 23, 2024, but could be renewed by the Board if necessary.
In addition, the County’s emergency operations center (EOC) partially activated Monday, January 15, to assist with multi-agency coordination, public information and community outreach. The activation also provides a venue for mobilizing and prioritizing resources needed to recover from the storms.
Prior to adopting the emergency declaration, Commissioner Pam Treece addressed the impact the winter storms have had on people throughout the community and the efforts underway by electrical providers working to restore power, road maintenance crews removing downed trees and emergency managers coordinating across the multi-agency response.
“The commission is very well aware of the state of damage that has happened here. We are very well aware of the weather conditions coming forward. We are concerned about making sure that the public is safe and comfortable,” said Treece. “This is a significant situation and we request your patience.”
The emergency declaration and EOC activation come after a winter storm rolled through the region, beginning just before to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. During these storms, nearly 100 trees fell across the county, in many cases bringing power lines down with them, causing outages for tens of thousands of households countywide. In addition, over 130 individuals have been receiving emergency shelter through partnerships among the county, cities and nonprofit organizations.
The public can help reduce the impact of the storm by doing the following:
- Avoid unnecessary travel, allowing utility crews and other first responders to address impacts of the storms safely. Check https://wc-roads.com, https://www.tripcheck.com or https://trimet.org before traveling.
- Check on neighbors and offer support, like transportation, device charging or warmth. Hillsboro’s Wingspan Event and Conference Center is open for shelter and charging, but check https://trimet.org or call 2-1-1 for transportation support before attempting to travel.
- If the power goes out, run generators or use grills outdoors away from windows or vents that could draw poisonous gas inside. Keep a three-foot distance between your heating source and other items in our home. Don't use your stove or oven to stay warm, as it is not safe for heating your home.
- If the power goes out, avoid frozen pipes by turning on the faucet farthest from your water meter so that it has a slow and steady drip. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let the warmer air from the rest of your home into that space. Know where your emergency water shut-off valve is in case you need to prevent flooding due to a burst water pipe.
More information about shelter options can be found at https://wcor.us/disasterhelpmap Shelter, transportation and other resources can be found by calling 2-1-1. Report or monitor power outages by contacting the electrical providers listed at https://www.washingtoncountyor.gov/emergency/power-outages. Use Request a Road Service to report downed trees or branches on streets/roads or sidewalks or call 503-629-0111. Find preparedness and other resources at https://www.washingtoncountyor.gov/emergency/incidents